Dorset Hotel

Love, Persuasion and Lashings of Ginger Beer: A Literary Guide to Discovering Dorset

From Austen to Wodehouse, Blyton to Hardy, Dorset’s stunning countryside has

inspired some of Britain’s most prominent literary names with its scenic, almost

ineffable landscapes igniting the imagination which has affected these authors

in various ways. Take a stroll with us (in no particular order) as we lead you through

a literature lover’s guide to discovering these authors’ works and all the pleasures

Dorset has.


Jane Austen


Jane Austen inspired by Dorset's landscape


Persuasion:  This historic title takes place around the Lyme Regis area which

many call “Pearl of Dorset” but more commonly known as Jurassic Coast which

is also a world heritage site and the title itself is Austen’s final novel which was

published shortly after her death in 1817. Austen visited Lyme Regis in 1803 and

1804, having stayed for weeks throughout that time which were later the setting

for the book. The popularity of this title led to an overflow of fans to the town in

which many of the events take place. Why not immerse yourself in the footsteps

of Austen and take a walk on the Cobb, have a weekend trip or drive along the Coast

where you can still find pre-historic fossils along the way to experience what she did

which left such a lasting impression that it was captured so eloquently within her

final novel.


Thomas Hardy 


Thomas Hardy inspired by Dorset's landscape


Tess of the D’Urbervilles:  Initially this appeared as a censored and serialised version

which was published by the British illustrated newspaper (The Graphic) in 1891;

and later in book form which spanned three volumes. For many, this novel

represented Hardy’s literary/fictional masterpiece which challenged the sexual

morals of the Victorian era. All of Hardy’s novels are inspired by the South and

South West areas of England which he named Wessex, after the medieval

Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in this area of England prior to the unification

of Athelstan. The Vale of Blackmore, is also the main setting for Tess  and is a

short stones’ throw away from Stonehenge. Tess herself is seen as a representation

of nature and her affiliation with animals throughout the novel which impressed

and fascinated the reader of the “idea” or representation of the South and how

it inspired the events that took place. Like many before and after Hardy, the

beauty of the South is ideally conveyed and reinforces the plots of the novels. offers self catering accommodation in the heart of

Dorset and features as Flintcomb Ash in Tess of the D’urbervilles.


Enid Blyton


Enid Blyton inspired by Dorset's landscape


Famous Five:  “The Famous Five” is a series of children’s novels written by author

Enid Blyton who went by the name of Mary Pollock within some of her published

works. The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children and their

dog and typically find themselves stumbling upon an adventure which usually

involves criminals and treasure. Oftentimes, these excursions they find themselves

in are close to Georgina/George’s family home which is based in Dorset. Regardless

of the book, many times the settings themselves take place in rural areas which

were directly inspired by the area of Dorset. Though there was only originally going

to be six/eight within the series, the popularity and sales of the books grew

tremendously to the point that in the end, twenty-one “Famous Five” novels were

written as well as several television and film adaptations based on the novels. Enid

Blyton is considered to be one of the world’s best selling authors since the 1930s

having sold in excess of 600 million copies. This series of books itself will capture

the imagination in what it was like as a child to discover idealistic, remote locations

such as these which made reading these books engaging, leaving the reader to

reminisce on the days we all had a group of friends with a dog having your own

adventures. For those wishing to really re-live the days of childhood, why not follow

in the footsteps of the famous five by visiting the iconic locations written within the

book such as Kirrin Castle, Corfe Castle, idealistic seaside town of Swanage, then

onto Brownsea Island, in Poole harbour which is accessible by ferry and then end

the day with an excursion onto Bournemouth located five miles from Poole harbour.


PG Wodehouse


PG Wodehouse inspired by Dorset's landscape


Love among the chickens:  Is a novel by Wodehouse and was first published in June

of 1906 and is the only novel to feature the recurring character of Stanley

Featherstonehaugh Ukridge who otherwise is confined to short stories. The plot

focuses on Jeremy Garnet who decides to leave London for a time to focus on his

next book, but is interrupted by the arrival of his friend Ukridge accompanied by

his wife Millie who then explains a business proposal involving producing hens’

eggs on a farm in Dorset and invite Garnet by enticing him of the idea of golf and

plenty of sea-bathing. Though somewhat bizarre, the novel effortlessly displays

the serene landscapes afforded by Dorset and transition to sandy beaches and

warm sunny days.  Wodehouse’s work has gained in popularity since his death,

and many of his works have been adapted for television and film and as of 2015,

his works are sited in the Oxford English Dictionary with over 1,700 quotes. Today,

his legacy is commemorated with a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey which

is open to the public. Additionally, if it is golf that you are fancying, Dorset offers great

golf courses throughout the area such as Isle of Purbeck, Lyme Regis, Remedy Oak

and Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club.


Thomas Edward Lawrence/Lawrence of Arabia 


Thomas Edward Lawrence inspired by Dorset's landscape


T.E. Lawrence who is globally better known as Lawrence of Arabia (autobiography

written by Jeremy Wilson about Lawrence who helped lead the Arab Revolt against

the Ottoman empire during WWI), was a British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat

and writer. Lawrence published three major texts in his lifetime. The most significant

was his account of the Arab Revolt in Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Homer’s Odyssey and

The Forest Giant. Shortly after his military career ended, Lawrence settled by

Wareham, Dorset in a cottage named Clouds Hill. Shortly thereafter, he was fatally

injured in an accident on his Brough Superior (motorcycle) near his cottage and

died six days later. Today Lawrence is buried in the separate burial ground of

St. Nicholas’ Church, Moreton which is nestled in between Weymouth and Corfe

Castle and a short drive away to the sandy beaches of Bournemouth. Both where

he is interred as well as his cottage are open to the public and receive numerous

visitors throughout the year to pay their respects Lawrence who himself had a

prolific life with the accomplishments he garnered throughout his lifetime.


John Fowles


John Fowles inspired by Dorset's landscape


The French Lieutenant’s Woman:  Set in the mid-nineteenth century, the novel’s

protagonist Sarah Woodruff, lives in the coastal town of Lyme Regis as a disgraced

woman abandoned by a French ship’s officer who had returned to France and married.

This novel gained notoriety due to is writing structure. Though more popular now in

film and television, the book’s style of writing ends up bringing the reader into the

book as a character themselves with the possibility of the protagonist having

multiple endings. Again set in the historic Dorset area, this novel embodies the

simplicity of coastal/scenic living.

Mary Shelley


Mary Shelley inspired by Dorset's landscape


Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus:  Is a novel written by English author

Mary Shelley; which ultimately is what she is most known for through the numerous

adaptations her novel brought about through print, television and cinema.

Though she is most known for Frankenstein, Shelley was an accomplished author

with various other works that are now being given acclaim for her literary style.

She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, romantic poet and

philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Though not native or having lived in Dorset,

her son Sir Percy Florence Shelley, bought Boscombe Cottage, which he had

built in 1801 and intended to turn it into a home for his mother; unfortunately,

Mary died from a brain tumour in 1851 prior to the completion of the home.

Mary Shelley wanted to be buried with her parents, so her son had their coffins

exhumed and placed in a family plot at St. Peter’s Church in Bournemouth. An

interesting fact about Shelley, after her husband Percy Shelley died from drowning

and his body cremated, she decided to keep his heart in a silken shroud and it

is rumoured that she carried it with her nearly everywhere for years. Today you

can visited her burial site with the cemetery being open to the public and

afterwards can cross the street to eat, drink or dance at a pub named after her or

walk a few minutes further to reach Bournemouth beach and pier.

Whether taking a drive along the Jurassic Coast or opening a hen farm business,

what these famous writers all have in common are the portrayal of one of the best

areas of the UK that anyone would be thrilled to visit whether it be to have an

adventure, road-trip or have a holiday.


Discover Dorset Experience

Discover Dorset and all its beauty.

Enjoy Dorset Cream Tea on arrival, a full English breakfast

each morning and dinner every evening using some of the finest produce.

we will even provide you with a suggested itinerary of what to see and do!

Stay 4 nights, we’ll upgrade you to a sea facing room with private balcony

(subject to availability)

Just £69pppn

Available Sunday – Thursday (offer excludes August). Minimum stay of 2 nights applies.

25% deposit required upon booking

Check availability and book now!




If you would like to find out more about these authors’ works’, the areas of Dorset

or just take a gander at scenic postcard like shots, feel free to hit the links below.





dorset beaches Dorset railways and Corfu CastleDorset beaches